From the New York Times (HT @ivanoransky):
"In a finding that is likely to shake up medical practice, researchers reported here that early detection of a relapse of ovarian cancer with a widely used blood test does not help women live longer.
The finding goes against the common presumption that early detection and treatment of cancer is better. It could force doctors and patients to re-evaluate the need for the periodic testing that has become an anxiety-inducing but also reassuring ritual for many women who have had ovarian cancer.
Most women who are in remission from ovarian cancer take the test, which measures levels of a protein called CA125, every three months or more frequently. The test can detect the recurrence of the cancer months before symptoms appear, allowing patients to start chemotherapy earlier.
But the new study, presented at the annual meeting here of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, found that women who started chemotherapy early based on a test result did not live longer than women who waited until symptoms appeared."